Thrift Shop Goes No 1

Posted on: 01/22/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

If you hang out with teenagers, you’ve probably heard mention of the song or music video Thrift Shop by two guys whose names no one knew a month ago, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The song (the explicit version) bounced in and out of the No 1 spot on iTunes last Wednesday, and the music video has been doing the same. It has been rapidly climbing the Billboard Hot 100 charts as well (always a little slower than iTunes), hitting No 2 this past weekend.

I first heard about it from Alyssa, my 17-year-old when she declared, “Dad, you’ve seen the video for that hilarious song Thrift Shop, haven’t you? Everyone’s talking about it at school.”

That, of course, peeked my curiosity.

Here’s the music video- unedited. It’s a little slow at the beginning, but kids are sticking with it, finding it both funny and catchy. Language Warning: even though the visuals are clean, this guy drops the f-bomb quite a few times in this video, with a few other vile phrases.

I think we’re seeing how much this younger generation is drawn to humor, naughty or nice. I’m reminded of LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It, Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night, and the numerous Andy Sandberg/Lonely Island videos that went viral. Funny sells.

I’m not defending this music video’s vulgarity, but Thrift Shop is actually pretty tame compared to the other hip hop music videos in the top of the charts right now, like A$AP Rocky’s F**kin’ Problems and Pitbull’s Don’t Stop the Party, both hanging in the iTunes top 10 for the last two months, both extremely racy, the latter as close to pornographic as a video can be without actually being officially pornographic. Thrift Shop doesn’t go there at all with the visuals, sticking to humor for its draw.

Vulgarity aside, Thrift Shop’s theme is actually a positive one. (NOTE: I’m not saying that you should go buy this song or start listening to it. I’m simply pointing out some conversation points if you get into a discussion with kids about the song). It pokes fun at the concept of buying fancy clothes to gain popularity, and basically encourages bargain shopping. It celebrates it, in fact. Some would probably argue Macklemore & Lewis’ message about self esteem is refreshing.

I don’t know how far I’d go with that, but I have to admit… these lyrics are rather amusing:

I wear your granddad’s clothes
I look incredible
I’m in this big ass coat
From that thrift shop down the road

What do you notice from the video?

What are your kids saying about the video?


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11 Replies to “Thrift Shop Goes No 1”

  1. Agree with the self esteem comments. My girls were singing it a few weeks ago so I googled it with and was totally not impressed. A positive self esteem message doesn’t outweigh the raunchy and crude lyrics.

    1. Yeah, my daughter Alyssa and I were talking about what a shame it was that he was foul in this song. I told her, “He could have probably had an even bigger market- including the little kids- if he would have kept it clean.” Alyssa said, “Yeah, but he was a no-name hipster who really didn’t foresee this getting popular. Now other hipsters are even condemning him for going mainstream, like you can help that.”

      1. Oh, so this is the song that I hear my kids randomly sing…

        “I’m gonna pop some tags
        Only got 20 dollars in my pocket…”

        No wonder they stop there. 🙂

  2. Since you were a safe website-I clicked on in my church office. As it played loudly-I was shocked! Should’ve read the warnings first. Yeah, lyrics & video have their offbeat, quirky humor, but sorry no thanks. Trash talk too much!! You really think this is going to help self esteem?!? Doubt it! Disappointing–Somehow, somewhere we gotta raise our standards. Vulgarity aside? Really? How do you do that?? As a childrens minister & a Mom- No way this is making my playlist!!

    1. Sandra, sorry that you didn’t read my warnings… and no, I wasn’t asking you to add it to your playlist. Today’s young people listen to this, I just think we should we aware of it and ready to talk about it.

    2. Sandra,
      I didn’t get the impression that Jonathan was advocating for us to listen to the song or download it, and certainly not to promote it with our children or teens. If you read the blog post in its entirety, there is no way you can miss the warnings and the intent behind it. As a former youth pastor (now senior pastor), and someone who still works with youth, I have found Jonathan’s blog extremely helpful in discerning what the teenagers I know are listening to. I’m not as young as I used to be when I started out in youth ministry–and this is no longer “my music”…so it’s that much harder for me to keep my finger on pop culture’s pulse! But it’s important for us, as adults, as parents, as youth workers, to be aware of what’s out there so we can have intelligent, informed conversations with teens without being blindsided by shocking, vulgar lyrics.

  3. Jonathan,

    Thanks for continuing to do the work of a missionary, helping the rest of us to be informed about the culture we’re attempting to reach. Your blog is awesome, no expletive required!

  4. I feel so far behind the times, as this is the first time I have heard this song…in it’s original form…f-bombs bursting in air…

    On the OTHER HAND… There is a family with three girls who have all graduated from our youth ministry since I’ve been here, the family of which occasionally produces parody videos…
    …the fun part is that the bald guy in the fir coat singing “I’m gonna pop some tags” is the father of those girls. It’s a great testament to quality family moments…and a fun tribute to Black Friday 2012 too.

    Thanks for sharing the Macklemore version and reflecting on its messages. But I still feel like it’s a rip-off of the real version, because I am so proud of the kids this family has raised 🙂

  5. We’ve been listening to this song. . .The kids love it and I wanted to find a review. . .like was there a double meaning somewhere that I was missing. So, thank you for taking the time to post. Appreciate it.

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